What do chronic intestinal diseases have to do with bacteria?

Your entire intestine is colonized by bacteria. That sounds worrying at first, but it's not. The unicellular organisms ensure that you are healthy and active - unless there is an imbalance between "good" and "bad" microbes. This can lead to intestinal, immune or weight problems, for example. In fact, evidence suggests that specific microorganisms and changes in the composition and diversity of intestinal bacteria are associated with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

Chronic inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Both Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Both run in episodes – Affected persons sometimes have no complaints for months, in rare cases even for years. Both diseases are accompanied by inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. In the long run the intestinal tissue is damaged by the inflammation. While Crohn's disease can affect the entire digestive system from mouth to anus, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the colon.

In some cases other organs are affected in addition to the intestine. Inflammations of the skin or joints are not uncommon, for example. Inflammatory intestinal diseases can also lead to complications: Bowel obstructions and openings are emergencies and must be treated immediately in hospital.

It is also important to know that people with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases have a higher risk for bowel cancer. If you are affected, regular check-ups are particularly important.

The causes of the two intestinal diseases are not known. Experts suspect that this is due to an autoimmune disease, and genetic predispositions are also being discussed. But also intestinal bacteria probably have an influence; there seems to be a connection between an unbalanced composition of intestinal bacteria and chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases.1

People with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease generally have a less species-rich intestinal flora. They also have less "good" bacteria like "Faecalibacterium" and more "bad" bacteria like "Escherichia coli". A further research result is that an excess of or an infection with "Clostridium difficile" promotes episodes or relapses . If you suffer from a chronic intestinal disease, an intestinal analysis makes sense in any case.

Are there any chronic gastrointestinal diseases?

When it comes to gastrointestinal disease, most people think of terrible nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. This is usually due to viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) or the norovirus. However, this disease is not chronic - it disappears again. Chronic means permanent or recurrent. If you always, often or sometimes have to do with intestinal complaints, the irritable bowel syndrome can be behind it.

These chronic gastrointestinal disorders have a variety of symptoms and their causes are unclear. Doctors speak of a intestinal dysfunction. Organically, however, everything is fine despite complaints. For this reason, experts describe irritable bowel syndrome as a syndrome and not as a disease, even if the term intestinal disease is widespread.


It is noticeable that the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome often worsen with psychic tension. If you often have stress, anxiety, sorrow or anger, this is a possible cause for your complaints. Spicy or unfamiliar food while travelling also seems to aggravate the symptoms.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation are classic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But also bloating, flatulence and unpleasant stomach pressure are very common. Many affected people observe that the symptoms after eating are worse. In any case, try to eat slowly and find out which foods cause the symptoms and which do not. If you have chronic intestinal problems, your doctor will examine you thoroughly. If the examinations do not reveal any abnormalities, irritable bowel syndrome is evident.

Do you have enough good intestinal bacteria?


Good question, right? You can easily find out by taking a stool sample. With INTEST.pro from BIOMESyou will find out what it looks like in your bowel. And with an accuracy that is unique in Europe. BIOMES compares the results from your stool sample with an extensive knowledge database. Using over 20,000 data sets, we create a intestinal flora profile that is as unique as your fingerprint.

The scientists of BIOMES examine your stool sample by high-throughput sequencing. This gives you information about many aspects of your health, including how well you can absorb vitamins, how resistant your immune system is, whether there are signs of inflammation in your intestines and how balanced your intestinal bacteria are in general.

1. Ni J, Wu GD, Albenberg L, Tomov VT. Gut microbiota and IBD: causation or correlation? Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 ;14:573–84. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrgastro.2017.88